August 21, 2009

Hope for Seattle Change Now That Nickels' Out? Elect Me!

Seattle's Mayor Gregory "Greg" Nickels (D) admits you won't have him to kick around anymore.

After a surprising primary in which the two-term mayor of Seattle ran third, the Mayor has bitten the bullet:

Nickels bows out; spotlight shifts to Mallahan, McGinn

With his re-election prospects dimming by the day, Mayor Greg Nickels conceded Friday morning that he had lost the primary election. It's a stunning defeat for the two-term incumbent....

It's also a stunning opportunity for me to launch, at last, my fiendish plan for Seattle by taking advantage of the opening and having myself elected as Mayor. Here's my platform from 2007. I'm still convinced it's a winner.

Following a thorough exploration of the contents of my blender yesterday (see below), I solved one of the most vexing problems currently besetting the city of Seattle, one that's a sure thing to get me elected Mayor.

Yes, somewhere towards the bottom of my blender yesterday I decided that the perfect Mayoral candidate would be me and that my single campaign issue and slogan would be, "30 becomes 10 and parking is free."

That's it. The whole thing.

Let me explain.

Seattle, like so many other cities, has a finite number of parking spaces and a finite number of cars. Like all other cities today, the number of cars exceeds the number of parking spaces. The reality of life in the city then becomes Micawberish: "Number of cars, 10. Number of parking spaces, 11. Result: happiness. Number of cars, 10. Number of parking spaces, 9. Result: misery." Seattle, in most of its area most of the day is deep in the misery index.

This is especially true in the parts of the city that people would actually like to go to, because many people do go there. But when they get there, they must revolve slowly like dying stars in a low earth orbit for what seems like eons. It is like playing parking lotto at $3.69 a gallon with the resulting degradation of the environment and the general mood of population.

You can, of course, go into a lot.... if these have spaces.... and pay through the nose simply to exit your vehicle and shop, dine, or recreate... paying through the nose for those too.

Nickels knows this but with his plates he can park anywhere, so what does he care? What he cares about seems to be the distance between the lap and the dancer in lap dances and bilking Seattle out of a few billion for bus tunnels. Not that Nickels would ever actually ride a bus. Nobody in Seattle rides the buses that endless roam the city as a make-work project for bus drivers. Nickels doesn't even drive his Cadillac or his Prius (Yes, he has one of those. This is Seattle where people actually think these cars actually look good rather than merely contain the stench of sanctimony.)

This is Nickels' soft underbelly. (Politically speaking, since his actual soft underbelly is just slightly less prominent.)

You see, Seattle, like all cities run by whores, is sitting on a gold mine in parking spaces. Seattle actually has, in reality, more spaces than it has cars. It simply, like all cities run by whores, doesn't want citizens slipping into those spaces. Especially for free.

Everywhere you go in this city, the street corners at the intersections are adorned with this sign:


The mandated "30 feet" is ostensibly for "the greater good" as all evil things are labeled in cities run by whores and control freaks. They say it is to make corners "safer." Making things "safer" for citizens is always what cities run by whores say when snatching away personal liberties. It is almost invariably bullshit, and even when its not it still is. It's the slogan of "The National Teachers and Buttinsky Union" that would like a society where everyone was a helmeted and padded kindergartner from birth to death.

My Seattle will be different in many respects when I am elected Mayor.

On my first day in office first thing I will send out a squad of the hard-core unemployed, and the teachers of Seattle on one of their limitless days off (Yes, I know you 'work very hard' yadda, yadda, yadda... but you only work eight months a year).

My minions will be equipped with a can of white spray paint, a stencil of the numeral "1" and a can of red spray paint. They will carefully spray out the numeral three on every one of those signs in the city of Seattle. Placing the stencil of the number "1" over the white space on the sign, they'll spray that onto the sign with the red spray paint.

If they fail to redo every sign in Seattle in one day, they will be summarily shot and their jobs and homes given to the homeless, people who know how to spray letters onto city surfaces. Since this project and any executions will take place just before finals, I will have the support of every student in Seattle and, because Seattle children rule their parents, everyone else besides. They'll put up a statue of Mayor Moi at every intersection.

Overnight the city of Seattle will gain 20 feet more in parking space wherever these signs are, and they are everywhere. I estimate an overnight net gain in parking spaces in Seattle to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 426,756. In short, everybody parks and has enough room left over to have a tailgate party celebrating my ascension to mayor. Tourism will explode as refugees from other cities in America and Canada flood into Seattle to experience easy parking.

The other part? The everyone parks for free part? Simplicity itself.

Most of the meters in Seattle are controlled by a central computer. I will have the root password and all those meters will be set to "Please pay nothing for 2 hours." Then I will reset the root password to an uncrackable 128-bit word from the Planet Queezlplyx in Orion. And destroy the only encryption key.

The remaining old-fashioned coin-operated meters will be deeded to the citizens of Seattle on a first-come, first serve basis to eBay off to other still enslaved cities. The citizens of Seattle will also be free, by Mayoral Proclamation, to blow up, bust up, sledge hammer, or otherwise destroy with extreme prejudice all those annoying mini-roundabouts that crop up at neighborhood intersections like dubious concrete toadstools.

That's it. That's my whole program. I get it done and then.... I resign.

After all the only thing in American life that's more disgusting than a lawyer is a politician, which is why so many become one or the other.

Me? I get it done and I get out. That's my pledge.

Trust me.

Posted by Vanderleun at August 21, 2009 12:11 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

And then your successor reverses everything.

You really want to have more parking spaces than cars? Reduce the number of cars.

Driving on a suspended license? Confiscation.

Blocking an intersection? Confiscation.

Running a red light? Confiscation.

Speeding? Confiscation.

DWI? Confiscation.

Unsafe load? Confiscation.

Smoke from the tailpipe? Confiscation.

Confiscated vehicles sold for scrap.

Making a drivers license harder to get would help as well, but I expect confiscation would do far more to reduce the number of cars on the road. And the recyled metal from those cars could go into the buses and light rail built to replace them. Confiscation catches on across the country we could see a revival in rail travel, necessitating the repair and expansion of our rail infrastructure. Also either the elimination of the TSA or its reform, and more pedestrian/short distance travel friendly cities.

So instead of a short term, single issue fix let us go for the long term solution.

Posted by: Alan Kellogg at June 3, 2007 5:34 PM

Police state fascist! You can have my car when you pry my body from its smoldering wreck!

Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at June 4, 2007 7:11 AM

In a nutshell, compare and contrast authoritarian vs. libertarian.

Gerard suggests a simple, cheap approach to allow people to actually do what they want to do: park.

Alan builds a complex, state-oriented force-based solution to force other people to behave the way HE wants them to behave.

Just a guess on my part: Democrat, Alan?

Posted by: lpdbw at June 4, 2007 10:28 AM


Now, if you run, I'll have to move.

To Seattle.

To vote for you.

I don't like Seattle. But I love your platform and attitude.

GNH, Sequim

Posted by: Cave16 at June 4, 2007 3:15 PM

Wow, Alan...

My, aren't we the zealot!


The solution starts with you, hun.

Recycle any vehicle you have outside of a bicycle. After that rip up your drivers license, pedal down to the DMV and turn it in for the non-driver photo ID.

While you are at it take a vow that you will use no petroleum or goods manufactured with petroleum. That means no plastics, no modern medicine or medical practices (you seen how much of that stuff is made out of plastics? I thought not.), no computer, no iPod, no polarfleece, no cell phone, no CD/DVD's, no shoes that are not made out of natural materials. It also means you will have to buy foods only grown by yourself or grown within 12 miles of your house (the average days travel for a horse wagon). That means say goodbye to alot of foods and drink that you enjoy-including coffee. Same thing for clothing. I hope you do not have a problem wearing leather, wool or fur. if you are lucky you live in a place where you can grow your own cotton if those items bother you.

Once you have done all that then you can come back and pontificate. Oh, wait-you won't be able to. You won't be able to use a computer-it is made out of petroleum and consumes way too much electricity.

Posted by: Ennis at June 4, 2007 3:28 PM


Your next Seattle assignment, should you choose to accept, will be to report on the City of Seattle Office for Civil Rights with attendant Seattle Human Rights Commission, Seattle Women's Commission and Seattle Commission for Sexual Minorities. How can you be so worried about something so trivial as parking when there is so much injustice in Seattle? Your fellow citizenz groan and suffer under heavy daily oppression and you can only think of cars??! When there are so many rights to be wronged? I mean wrongs to be know what I mean - don't try to twist my words! You're just a typical Republican conservative thinking only of cars and material things when the pulsating superrating wounds of the oppressed cry out to be salved by these vital Commissions!

Posted by: Douglas at June 4, 2007 7:14 PM

You won't be responsible for your stuff, you lose it. Tough titties.

In local news a new community in the city of Poway California was recently finished. Low and medium income residents. Loads of neat stuff, 90+% of electricity provided by solar panels. More important, you can walk to the grocery.

That, really, is what's going to cut down on the number of cars out there. The ability to get where you want to easily by walking or biking. When you hear of old neighborhoods and communities being rebuilt for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, that is when you'll know the car has lost its hold on America.

BTW, we have one street that I know of with mini roundabouts. They were established to deliberately slow traffic. Punks would speed up and down the street and kill pedestrians trying to cross. The locals didn't want stoplights (and the city couldn't afford them anyway), the jerks weren't paying attention to the stopsigns, so we got roundabouts. We ever get around to rebuilding communities and neighborhoods I'm hoping we install real roundabouts. Done right they'll eliminate redlight running.

And Gerard, only someone with extensive personal experience in the subject could ever discern another practitioner of the ideology.

Posted by: Alan Kellogg at June 4, 2007 11:30 PM

Mr. Kellogg (and others):

There is a much simpler way to improve the parking situation in just about any American city. Simply put a significant ($2?) extra tax on gasoline. Which will lead to people, in the long run, buying more fuel-efficient cars, which obviously tend to be smaller. Presto! Less space needed.

Of course, there are side benefits: Extra tax revenue (short-term) which can be used for any desired purpose, including lowering other taxes. Less pollution. A smaller balance of payments deficit. And, perhaps most important, the giving of less money to terrorists.

If the American car industry can't handle it? Well, Darwin always wins.

But it won't happen - because the oil company lobby has too much money to spend and too many legislators bought and paid for. In fact, they have one of their own in the White House right now.

Posted by: Fletcher Christian at June 4, 2007 11:58 PM

One word.........plastics.

No wait, that's not it. Start again.

One word.....Blimps.

Everyone gets a blimp. You can park it anywhere. No more bowing to the oppression of the single-plane fascists. Throw off the shackles of slavery to the 360 degrees and step into the light of....the light of....exactly how many directions are there from the center point of a sphere? Oh yeah, ...into the light of infinite directions of travel! Into the multidirectional peoples democratic(not Democrat) republic. Gasbags for the people, not government.

Now is the time for the downtrodden proletariat to strike a blow for every-wayness! Quickly and firmly, before Alan devises a lumbering governmental program to defend the rights of those shade-oppressed unfortunates, deprived of their rights, through no fault of their own, to sunlight, by the new class of blimp-parking oppressors, unfortunates forced to grow mushrooms on their lawns to scrape out a meager living in the eternal twilight of their dreary, ahem....underclass existence.

Hey, it's 3:30 in the morning. Pick one and laugh, they're not going to get any better.

Posted by: t-ham at June 5, 2007 12:34 AM


Red Ken in London has already tried that one, and London is just as congested as ever. Not only that but it is causing great hardship for the millions who have to work in London but can not afford to live within zone 1 of the underground like Madonna. The transport system simply was not designed to handle as many people as it is having to, breakdowns and delays are common.

Now if they can not get that to work in a city with one of the best public transport systems in the world what chance you think it has to work in Seattle?

Posted by: Ennis at June 5, 2007 10:32 AM


"Low and medium income residents. Loads of neat stuff, 90+% of electricity provided by solar panels. More important, you can walk to the grocery."

Can they walk to work? Can they walk to the hospital? Do they have horse drawn buggies or rickshaws to take people where they need to go that they can't walk to or do giant Eagles swoop down to pick them up and fly them there? Do they have people designated to deliver things to people who can not walk long distances such as the elderly? Do they have a book of Green Sasquatch carbon ration Stamps they need to use if *GASP* they have to go somewhere farther then walking distance from their homes or have to have something delivered? Is there enough parking space for their Radio Flyer wagons or dog travois at the grocery store? People such as the "low and medium income residents" you describe can not afford to purchase Pious's or Teslas, they can only afford old pickup trucks, minivans and Crown Vic's so don't try to tell me they are all driving them.


"They were established to deliberately slow traffic. Punks would speed up and down the street and kill pedestrians trying to cross. The locals didn't want stoplights (and the city couldn't afford them anyway), the jerks weren't paying attention to the stopsigns, so we got roundabouts. We ever get around to rebuilding communities and neighborhoods I'm hoping we install real roundabouts. Done right they'll eliminate redlight running."

The speed kiddies will just speed around the roundabouts, hun. I lived long enough in London to know that one for a fact.

One more thing...

Utopia-a Greek word meaning "nowhere". Apparently you have not figured out that Utopia does not exist. Reality is a hard thing for those in the "reality-based community" to cope with.

Posted by: Ennis at June 5, 2007 10:57 AM

"That, really, is what's going to cut down on the number of cars out there. The ability to get where you want to easily by walking or biking."

Perhaps. But I can easily get to the grocery store by walking, and I never do. Why? Because it is easier, and faster, and more efficient to drive once a week for everything than walk five times a day, encumbered with child & dog, dragging everything up the hill. I will continue to drive until the distance I'd have to park from the store exceeds the distance between home and the store.

"When you hear of old neighborhoods and communities being rebuilt for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, that is when you'll know the car has lost its hold on America."

Perhaps. I suspect this means that you'll know the city planners have secured their hold on America, and decided to make people do what they seem mulishly disinclined to do on their own. I live in an old neighborhood, which was designed for cars and trolleys. The former aren't going away, and the latter aren't coming back. No one will bike to the corner store in January, or walk to the doctor in August. The only way you can "rebuild" an old neighborhood for pedestrian and bikes - aside from widening the sidewalks, which already exist, and add more bike lanes, which are underused - is to put barbed stop-strips at every intersection.

Even then people will drive to work with four flats, because they have to get to work to pay the bills. And the taxes. And the salaries of the city planners.

Posted by: Lileks at June 5, 2007 11:18 AM

27 dollar tax on gasoline?
Someone seems to forget about logistics.
While your're walking or riding your
bicycle, do you think your clothing and
food are delivered the same way?
Too bad white man did away the buffalo,
as you're certainly noy going to be using
many petroleum by products.

Posted by: Maggie at June 5, 2007 11:45 AM

I look forward to the day when all our aged, crippled, and otherwise disadvantaged endure being housebound as they wait for those that care, really care, to come by and give them piggyback rides to the store. Or maybe just pop them onto the handlebars and tell them to hold on.

Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at June 5, 2007 12:20 PM


Urban assault chairs. Arm the things with SAWs and RPGs and let the owner take out sidewalk blockers however they wish. Some clod parks his car on the sidewalk, a wheelchair bound person would have the right to pop a grenade on the damn thing and then call the cops to have the smoldering remains hauled away at the owner's expense. Said owner makes any threatening moves his demise gets listed as "suicide by wheelchair user".

Posted by: Alan Kellogg at June 5, 2007 3:46 PM

Now we know what Tom Brady would look like if he were an old, fat lesbian.

Posted by: Uncle Mikey at June 9, 2007 1:03 PM

Gerard, would it really hurt Americans to drive cars two-thirds the length, especially since the classic American car has a six-foot hood and four-foot trunk? Drive something the size of what's called a Ford Mondeo over here (I confess I don't know what they call it in the States) and you still have a largish, comfortable car - but it takes up less space and drinks half the gasoline.

Maggie: What I actually wrote was $2? (2-question mark) not $27. Which would bring gasoline prices to somewhere near the European average, and we manage.

Posted by: Fletcher Christian at June 13, 2007 2:14 AM

Gerard, is it still this bad?

Posted by: mrp at August 21, 2009 1:16 PM

It's a little tedious listening to the Obamoids droning about walking, biking, bussing, light railing or even heavy railing. Were they ever parents, ever disabled, ever need to do errands, ever want to buy more than half a bag of groceries?

Try being an older person with decreased mobility and/or vision. Now try walking a few blocks to get to your bus stop. Now wait - standing - for 20 minutes in the heat, rain, wind or snow. Now sit on a bus with no armrests to hold, no back support, no cushioning for your arthritic hip. Hope the bus driver is in a good mood and remembers to yell at you when you are at your stop, since your hearing is not good and your poor eyesight won't let you read the readerboard or the street signs outside.

Transfer to another bus, waiting 15 minutes again and worrying about the punks eyeing your tote bag. Arrive at your destination, 7 miles from your home, 2 hours after you left. Repeat for return trip. Forget about errands on the way, you are too tired. And the places you need to go are not on either of the bus lines. Groceries are out of the question, as you cannot carry the bags from the store to the bus stop or from the bus stop to your home.

Forget about going anywhere after dark. Or on weekends when the bus service is limited. Forget about going anywhere outside your own city. Write off anything more than a block or two from the bus lines. Forget about spontaneous anything: the transfers, weather exposure, waiting and walking and anxiety about finding toilet facilities are just too much to cope with.

But maybe you are young. So you gather up the baby, the four year old, the dog who can't be left alone any longer, the library books, the dry cleaning, the videos to return to blockbuster, the earth-friendly reusable grocery bags, and you load them all on your bike or onto the bus ... oops ... maybe not.

But suppose you are single. So you get a bike and plan the route and you ride to work and it's all just great until the day it rains. And there is no place at work to change, and no place to hang your damp bike clothes until you ride home. Or it's hot, and you smell like....well....after a few days of the boss's comments on hygiene, you realize that you can be employed or you can be a bike rider, but not both.

But maybe it all works for you. You walk to work and you ride the bus to your sweetie's condo, stopping at the Pike Place Market for some organic arugula and a latte, and you both walk to the bistro and take a cab home, and in the morning you both take the bus to work...

... then you are about one-hundredth of one percent of the population and Seattle is YOUR TOWN.

Posted by: AskMom at August 21, 2009 2:08 PM

Hey, is that Ken's Market behind the no parking sign?

Posted by: Skookumchuk at August 21, 2009 2:58 PM

Good catch. It is.

Posted by: Vanderleun at August 21, 2009 3:41 PM

Excellent comment, askmom. I've promoted it to the home page.

Posted by: Vanderleun at August 21, 2009 4:08 PM